Monday, December 26, 2011

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears - Scandalous

Scandalous' "Living in the Jungle" opens this record with a soulful horn line that breaks down to a guitar driven tune in the realm of the Spencer Davis Group's "I'm a Man" (the hit white r'n'b number, not the Bo Diddley/Muddy Waters blues tune) and tells you immediately what you are in for here - a blast of groove-ridden rock'n'soul.

"I'm Gonna Leave You" gets slow and sexy before "Booty City" rocks back in sounding like Sly and the Family Stone doing Edwin Starr's soul tune, "25 Miles", complete with wailing guitars and group vocals. "Black Snake" is a soul/dance number which is sure to get you moving - rockin', raw harmonica work, too!

The title track comes down a bit for an Issac Hayes-styled seduction before moving into "Messin'", a spot-on country blues acoustic guitar revival. Then they smack right back in with the energetic jumping' soul groove of "Mustang Ranch", based on a true story of traveling through the Nevada deserts.

Some of the punkier influences come through in "You Been Lying", which would fit right at home on modern punk/r'n'b band Dollhouse's releases, though this is a little more 70's soulful, as well. A cool, uptempo blues guitar groove propels "Ballad of Jimmy Tanks", which is far from a balls, though "Since I Met You Baby" is very much of one, with an interesting trumpet solo, conjuring up images of a heavier Herb Albert (at least in my demented mind) - though a surprisingly heavy guitar solo (for a ballad) reminds me of J.Geils sitting in!

This selection concludes with the pure garage funk of "Jesus Took My Hand", which meshes everything they are about all in one - bluesy, funky, raw, garage-y and totally groovy, in every sense of the word!

I don't know many modern bands doing funk music, but these cats do it absolutely righteously - with unashamed nods to the past yet with plenty of spunk and originality. This release sports a bit more variety than their debut and maybe slightly more polished (but only slightly and not in a bad way), but everything works and everything rocks in an r'n'b/soul kinda way! Absolutely recommended!